Attending the Twins Caravan on Wednesday caused me to come down with a case of general soreness. About 170 fans turned out to see outfielders Ben Revere and Rene Tosoni, along with TV broadcaster Dick Bremer and Twins legend Tony Oliva. I think fans might have been as disappointed with the caravan as I was. The delegation was 15-20 minutes late arriving from Bemidji. Each caravan member talked for a few minutes, then a few questions were answered, and a few prizes were given out. No autographs. No season highlight video (it probably would have been quite short for the 2011 season).
If you haven't been to a Brainerd Warriors boys basketball game in a while this would be a year to head back to the gym and take a peek. At the midpoint of the season Brainerd is 8-4 overall for the first time since Jan. 16, 2007. On Tuesday the Warriors scrapped back from a 14-point first-half deficit to nip Little Falls 80-78 on two Jagar Hanson free throws with five-tenths of a second remaining. It was Brainerd's first win over the Flyers since March 5, 2010. This year's team can go 10-deep, can shoot the three, bang underneath and plays chest-to-chest defense.
Once in a while, after returning from a sports assignment, I reflect and think, "Boy that was a blast." That's how I felt Sept. 19 when I returned home after interviewing Derek Owen for my Sept. 25 story on Popple Park in his backyard and the Wiffleball tournament that was being played there this weekend. Not only was it a blast to do a story with Derek, who worked for the Dispatch sports department about 10 years ago and is one of the craziest guys I know. It was also a blast to take batting practice with Derek pitching Wiffle Balls to me.
Since being inducted into the Brainerd Warriors Hall of Fame I have been inundated with emails, calls, letters and cards of congratulations. It's a tremendous and humbling honor. Congrats have ranged from people I played baseball against many years ago to a gentleman buying a Mother's Day card at the mall the same day as me. He knew me but I had no idea who he was.
Charter Communications customers tuning in to watch the Twins game Tuesday against the Yankees were disappointed to find the game wasn't televised.
Charter and Fox Sports North have an agreement to broadcast 105 games to Charter customers. But a disagreement over the cost to broadcast 45 additional games kept Charter customers in the dark Tuesday.
According to the Charter news release, those 45 games used to be on WFTC-My 29. FSN purchased the rights to those games.
On Monday I finished my annual exercise in futility — picking the winners of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. I already have 2 wrong — I picked Alabama-Birmingham and Arkansas-Little Rock to win First Four games and, of course, both lost. My Final Four are Ohio State, Texas, Kansas (which will please my editor) and Wisconsin. I have Ohio State beating Texas in one national semifinal, Kansas beating Wisconsin in the other, and the Buckeyes and Jared Sullinger beating Kansas (much to my editor's chagrin) to win the whole enchilada.
John Gordon reportedly will broadcast his final season of Twins baseball in 2011. Thank goodness. I've never been a favorite of Gordo, who continuously overstates the obvious (It's 3 and 2, 3 balls and 2 strikes) and his "Touch em all" home run schtick. Just call the game, cut the crap. A couple of my favorite Gordo guffaws: "And he slides into second base with a standup double" ... "It's a high drive to right .. and it's caught at second base by Hudson" AND "There's a long drive to center ... and it's foul" AND lastly "And the first pitch is a ball outside.
Brainerd's Josh Archibald has verbally committed to play hockey for the University of Nebraska-Omaha next season. Archibald is simply one of the best ever to play for Brainerd. He has a howitzer for a shot, can outskate virtually any opponent and is a physical player. Entering Tuesday's game against St. Cloud Apollo he ranks fourth in Warrior career scoring with 129 points. His 55 points this season are only 11 behind the single-season program record of 66 points by Jerr Johnson.
If Josh isn't playing in the NHL someday I'm going to be shocked.
Former Twin Bert Blyleven finally received word today that he has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after an undeserving wait. Bert compiled lights-out stats, which many of today's pitchers will never come close to matching — 287 wins, 60 shutouts, 242 complete games, 3,701 strikeouts. He only won 20 games once in a 22-year career, which is what many voters apparently held against him. His election was long overdue.